Napa cabbage kimchi and radish kimchi

Baechu-kimchi, kkakdugi 배추김치, 깍두기

Kimchi is a staple of Korean life and many Koreans include it in their meals three times a day. You can eat it by itself, or use it in so many different Korean recipes. When Koreans make kimchi, they make an effort to make the best kimchi possible and include many regional ingredients.

Today I will show you how to make a traditional-style kimchi with oysters, and we’ll also make radish kimchi (“kkakdugi”) with the same kimchi paste, which saves us from having to make these two kinds of kimchi separately. This is how I make kimchi and kkaktugi, because I need both in my house, but you might be interested in my “easy kimchi” (mak kimchi) recipe if you don’t have a lot of time, or in my kakdugi recipe if you want to make only kakdugi, or make my traditional napa cabbage kimchi recipe by itself if that’s all you need. Also, if you don’t like oysters, you can leave them out.

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Many people think you have to wait for kimchi to be fermented before eating, but personally I prefer to eat fresh kimchi, as soon as I make it. And I like to make stew (kimchi-jjigae) out of older kimchi.

Ingredients

  • 2 large size napa cabbages (about 8 pounds: 3.6 kg) and 2 Korean radishes (about 4-5 pounds: 2 kg)
  • 1½ cup of kosher salt
  •  ½ cup  sweet rice flour, ¼ cup sugar, water
  • 4 cups of hot pepper flakes
  • 1 cup fish sauce,
  • 1 medium sized onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup of  fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs minced ginger
  • 7 stalks of green onions, chopped diagonally
  • 2 cups worth Buchu (Asian chives), chopped,
  • 2 cups of matchstick-cut radish
  • fresh oysters (optional)

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Directions

  1. Cut the cabbages in half, and then slit each half through the core, but not through the rest of the leaves.
  2. Soak each piece in cold water and sprinkle salt over the each leaf , and then set it aside for 2 hours.
    *tip: the stems should get more salt than the leaves
  3. Peel 2 kg of Korean radishes and cut them into 1 inch cubes. Do this by cutting them into several disks, and then cutting horizontally, and then vertically. Put them in a big bowl and sprinkle them with ¼ cup of salt. Then set these aside, too.
  4. 2 hours later, turn the pieces of cabbage over so they get salted evenly. Turn the radishes as well.
  5. Another 2 hours later, you will see the cabbage look softer than before, and it should have shrunk.
    *the total salting process will take 4 hours
  6. Rinse the salted cabbage and radish with cold water 3 times.

kimchi_salting

Making Kimchi paste:

Make porridge

  1. Put ½ cup of sweet rice flour and 3 cups of water into a skillet and mix them up. Then cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  2. When you see some bubbles, pour ¼ cup of sugar into the porridge and stir one more minute. Then cool it down.
  3. Place the cold porridge into a big bowl. Now you will add all your ingredients one by one.
  4. Add  fish sauce, hot pepper flakes, crushed garlic, ginger, and onion
    *tip: it’s much easier to use a food processor.
  5. Add green onions, Asian chives, and radish.
  6. Add  2 cups of frozen oysters, but this is optional. (I found out lots of people can’t eat them.)
  7. Mix all ingredients well.

Are you ready to spread our paste on the leaves and make your kaktugi?

* I recommend you wear rubber gloves so that you don’t irritate your skin.

  1. Spread the kimchi paste onto each leaf of the cabbage, and make a good shape out of the leaves by slightly pressing with both hands.
  2. Put it into an air- tight sealed plastic container or glass jar.
  3. Mix your leftover paste with your radish cubes to make kkakdugi.
    kimchi

You can eat it fresh right after making or wait until it’s fermented. Put the Kimchi container at room temperature for 1 or 2 days and keep it in the refrigerator.

How do you know it’s fermented or not?

One or 2 days after, open the lid of the Kimchi container. You may see some bubbles with lots of liquids, or maybe sour smells. That means it’s already being fermented.

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1,130 Comments:

  1. Jason La Paz, Mexico joined 9/11 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi, I have one word for you…WOW!!!! I retired from the Army and decided to move to Mexico about a year and a half ago and I loved Korean food so much that I decided to open a little Korean BBQ place here with the few recipes that I have picked up over the years. Oddly enough I never had a recipe for Kimchi, as I would always buy a jar of it at the local Korean Market when I lived in the states. Needless to say there are no Korean Markets here in Mexico. Anyway, I was searching for a Kimchi recipe about 4 months ago just before we opened the restaurant and came across your site. Simply AMAZING!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I have adjusted my recipes based off of your recipes and added the Kimchi to my Korean BBQ plate. They LOVE IT!!! Thanks again!

  2. ash79 kuching,sarawak, borneo, malaysia joined 9/11 & has 1 comment

    thanks i love ur recipe keep it up gurl.

  3. kreezim Vancouver, Canada joined 7/11 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi, I have really enjoyed learning how to make Korean food from your site! I have had several Korean homestay students live with me and I have tried to make them “home” cooked food whenever possible. One time, when I had a 12 year old Korean boy we make kimchi. It was a hilarious experience because he was on the phone to his mom getting coached about the recipe and then trying to translate it back into English for me. Ha. It turned out well BUT he forgot to translate one important step. WASH out the SALT. Yikes. We dissolved in tears when we called back the mom and she explained what had happened! Ha. Anyway, I have a quick question-Can pears be substituted for the sugar in the kimchi or is sugar pivotal to the fermenting process? Thank you for your site it saves on the often crazy “translating” problems.

    • Kim Yunmi United States joined 7/12 & has 30 comments

      Sugar is not pivotal to the fermentation process. Lactobacilli which make cheese also make kimchi and they don’t usually add sugar to cheese–the nappa cabbage alone has enough sugar. Trust me on this one. ^^;; Every few years, if not every year, I do a Kim Jang where I experiment.

      You can, for kicks add Asian Pear, but that would make it royal kimchi (something a King would eat). =P The upper class tends to use pears in Korea. That might soften the vinegar taste a bit, if sharp isn’t to your liking.

      I personally prefer it without sugar since I like the super fermented kimchi taste. (Which Seoul-ites don’t like).

  4. PaullyG Perth, Australia joined 8/11 & has 2 comments

    My Uncle used to be a pilot for Asiana, living in Korea he picked up a taste for kimchi, later when visiting him in Singapore he introduced me to it, I was about 16 at the time and it was probably the most amazing thing I’d ever tasted. Returning to Australia I hadn’t seen it anywhere since, until a couple weeks ago when my wife and I stumbled upon a Korean restaurant, I’m 33 now. While the rest of the food there was excellent, the kimchi was obviously freshly made and lacked the punch I remembered. Last weekend I decided I would make my own and google found me your site. I followed this recipe without oysters as they were the one flavour I didn’t like in my uncles kimchi, I had some good quality mustard powder left over from another dish, something told me to add it. I’m glad I did, the kimchi is a week old now and tastes fantastic, the mustards flavour is hidden in the other flavours but it adds a wasabi like punch to the heat of the chili, it’s quite awesome. I’ve also made a number of other dishes from your site, each one so far has turned out excellent and I’m learning to work with all these new ingredients fast. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and talents.

  5. K_Moodswing Singapore joined 7/11 & has 2 comments

    Maangchi Help,
    I try making kimchi using your recipes,
    it turns out to be too salty…
    how to reduce the saltiness??
    plz reply soon, thank you..

  6. hailiz MALAYSIA joined 7/11 & has 1 comment

    Hi!
    i tried making kimchi and rolled eggs using your recipe and it was great!!
    thanks..i’m going to try other korean recipe as well..

  7. Saoirse Singapore joined 7/11 & has 3 comments

    Hi!
    I have tried making Kimchi yesterday using your recipe and it was great! I could see liquid in the container with my Kimchi now! Yay!

    My mum found it a bit spicy though…

    But, how can I reduce the spiciness at this stage? It is the 2nd day now and will my Kimchi get less spicier when it is fermented?

    Or, should I remove the chili paste on the Kimchi and sealed it again?

    Or, should I add more porridge to it?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,724 comments

      “should I remove the chili paste on the Kimchi and sealed it again?” Yes, good idea
      “, should I add more porridge to it?” no no no, I wouldn’t do that. The kimchi will be too sticky.

      • Saoirse Singapore joined 7/11 & has 3 comments

        Dear Maangchi,

        I made a bold move.

        I remove the chili paste on the Kimchi and placed some of the “removed” chili paste into some freshly made porridge. Then, I spread the new paste onto the Kimchi again. I left the Kimchi in room temperature for half a day and then put the Kimchi back into the fridge. And voila! The next day, when I tasted the Kimchi, its well fermented with a sour smell and it is not as spicy as before and it is not as sticky as I have expected and I can see some liquid in the container.

        I am so happy that it turned out well! ^^

        I have learnt my lesson though! I will try to refrain from putting lotsa of pepper flakes the next time!

        I will be making Mat Kimchi next time! ^^

        My Korean friend said that the Kimchi smelled GOOD! hahaha.

        Thanks for your recipe! ^^

  8. jun1 canada joined 7/11 & has 1 comment

    i made kimchi last week and i open it to see there is mold growing! what happened? i’ve made kimchi 3-4 times before and this has never happened before :(

  9. lenabonsai United States joined 7/11 & has 6 comments

    Hello,
    I am wondering about the difference in quality/taste among brands of Korean pepper flakes. When I last went to buy Kimchi ingredients the clerk advised be to buy one brand over the other because of its good taste and heavy pigment (it happened to be one of the most expensive bags there, but also turned out to be very good in kimchi et cetera). How much difference is there from brand to brand really? I know there are ‘hot’ and ‘mild’ versions of the flakes, but beyond that are there any brands/types to look for or avoid? If anyone has favorites or ones they do not recommend please, let me know! Any info will be helpful; hoping to spend less on my next large bag of pepper flakes (spent about $20 last time on a 3 lb bag). Thanks!

  10. Krisnani Jakarta joined 7/11 & has 1 comment

    Hi, Maangchi. Two days ago, I made kimchi used your receipt for the 1st time. But it taste too salty, what’s wrong with my kimchi? How to reduce the salty taste? Thank you.

    • Kim Yunmi United States joined 7/12 & has 30 comments

      1. You didn’t wash your kimchi before putting on the kimchi paste.
      or
      2. You just don’t like it to sit for 2-4 hours. If you want that vinegary taste, but less salt, ferment it for only 1-2 hours.

      The Seoul version of kimchi usually salts it for less time (1 hour)… which may make the difference for you.

  11. piper_ying Singapore joined 7/11 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi. I really want to try making kimchi but I couldnt find pepper powder around my area. Can chilli powder or chilli flakes act as substitudes instead? Really appreciate you advise! Thank you!

    • Kim Yunmi United States joined 7/12 & has 30 comments

      Chili flakes will not taste the same as made-for-kimchi kochu flakes.

      My childhood was filled with trying to make kimchi and never getting it to taste the same. This is because the Korean pepper was bred to be slightly sweet, yet burn lightly when you eat it. (If you’ve had a raw one they can range from very mild to very spicy, make you cry–drier ones make you cry, though you can’t tell from the surface.) Chili powder, as from the US stores is more burn, no sweetness.

      You can try to make up for the deficit with other natural sugars, such as from pears, but despite my experimentation, I never “got” it until I had the kochu powder and then I understood what was wrong.

      Also because of the burn, I couldn’t distribute the chili flakes in such a way to balance plain burn with taste.

      But if you don’t care that much, reduce the chili flakes by at least half, put them in a food processor (to cut up the spicy seeds) and try to salvage with Asian pear.

      If not to your heart’s content, White Kimchi is just as delicious. (Same recipe without the chili powder)

  12. msallmand Texas joined 6/11 & has 1 comment

    This is a great kimchee recipe. This has been my 2nd time making it and it was just as great as the first. Thank you so much. I will be trying more recipes from your site. Keep up the good work.

  13. mikel Philippines joined 6/11 & has 1 comment

    nice recipe… can’t eat without it…. thanks for sharing us this great food!!! :)

  14. Meian Sydney joined 6/11 & has 1 comment

    I’m glad I discovered your site! Korean food is my favourite! The videos are very helpful. It lets us know what to expect while making your recipes. I can now make my favourite kimchi soup!

  15. lewlegacy Paducah, Kentucky joined 11/10 & has 9 comments

    i had been making the quick and easy kimchi by your instruction, but decided to do this method (whole/quartered) for the first time after watching your videos. i preferred doing it this way and probably will do it this way from now on. this is about my 10th time making kimchi and i finally got the flavor right where i like it! when making it this way, after fermenting, do you cut it all at once or just cut it when your ready to eat it piece by piece?

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